Flyers Gameday: 11/28/23 vs. Hurricanes; Cates out 4-to-6 Weeks
UPDATE 11 AM ET
Flyers head coach John Tortorella said on Tuesday morning that center/winger Noah Cates is "banged up" and would be out for awhile. The Flyers subsequently announced that the 24-year-old two-way forward would be out for six to eight weeks with a lower-body injury.
Coming off a consistently strong rookie season in 2022-23 in which he received some votes both for the Calder Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year) and the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), Cates was expected to take on an increased offensive role with two-time Selke finalist (one-time winner) Sean Couturier returning to the lineup.
The season to date has been an offensive struggle for Cates (1g, 3a in 21 games played) and he even went through a spell where he was uncharacteristically turning pucks over and getting beaten in some coverages. He nipped the latter issues in the bud but still scuffled to get going offensively.
Tortorella, who has openly said that he considers Cates to be one of his most trusted players on the team, eventually dropped Cates to a fourth-line center role for four-plus games as he moved Ryan Poehling up in the lineup. For a portion of last Wednesday's game and all of Saturday's match against the New York Islanders, Cates moved to right wing. He'd been a winger for most of his college career and broke into the NHL with the Flyers late in the 2021-22 season playing left wing on a promising young line with Owen Tippett on the right and Morgan Frost in the middle.
Cates showed considerable promise both as the F1 (first forechecker) and as a player with some touch around the net as he posted five goals and nine points in 16 games. Last year, with Couturier out for the entire season, first-season head coach Tortorella moved Cates to center at the start of the campaign. He was given the task of checking other teams' top line. Cates handled it surprisingly well and was fully deserving of a bit more consideration for postseason awards than he received. The Flyers' struggles in the standings held down his vote totals.
Only rarely last season did Cates skate shifts on a wing, and most of those were on the power play. In a rare shift reunited with Frost and Tippett, Cates scored a power play goal in Winnipeg during the final game before the NHL All-Star break. Frost and Tippett earned the helpers.
More recently, in this past Saturday's game in Elmont against the Islanders, Cates had one of his best games during the current season. He most skating right wing on a unit with Poehling and Joel Farabee. Now it turns out that he'll be out a month-and-a-half up to two months. Under that projected timetable, he'd return to play either in mid January or the end of that month.
Projected lineups for tonight will be adjusted accordingly. Bobby Brink will re-enter the lineup.
Game 22 Preview: Flyers vs. Hurricanes
The Philadelphia Flyers (11-9-1) will host the Carolina Hurricanes (12-8-0) on Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Wells Fargo Center. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Flyers enter this game coming off a 1-0 (1-0) shootout road win over the New York Islanders on Saturday evening. Samuel Ersson recorded a shutout, while Tyson Foerster's fourth-round shootout goal was the lone tally of the skills competition for either side.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes trailed the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets by a 2-0 score midway through the third period. Goals by Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brady Skjei, and Andrei Svechnikov spurred a big comeback win in regulation. Pyotr Kochetkov earned the win in net, stopping 21 of 23 shots.
Tuesday's game is the third of four meetings between the Flyers and Hurricanes this season. On Oct. 30 at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers lost, 3-2. On Nov. 15 in Raleigh, behind 30 saves from Carter Hart and 32 blocked shots in front of him, the Flyers earned a 3-1 win. Owen Tippett scored for the Flyers in both games.
Tuesday's game opens a busy week of divisional games for the Flyers. After this game, the Flyers have a Wednesday practice at the FTC in Voorhees, a Thursday home game against the New Jersey Devils, a Friday practice in Voorhees, a game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins on Saturday, an off-day on Sunday, and a return game against the Penguins in Philadelphia on Monday.
The Flyers originally had a practice scheduled yesterday but head coach John Tortorella canceled it about an hour before it was slated to start. He decided that an extra off-day would be more beneficial ahead of playing the speedy, number-one ranked puck-possession team in the NHL.
The Flyers will hold a morning skate at the FTC, while the Hurricanes will skate at the Wells Fargo Center. Projected lineups will be posted later today. Lineups below are based on the teams' respective last games. On Saturday in Elmont, Morgan Frost and Rasmus Ristolainen (returning from a pre-season injury) entered the lineup while Bobby Brink and Egor Zamula exited. Hart is expected to return to the net for the Flyers against Carolina.
PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change, will be updated)
71 Tyson Foerster - 14 Sean Couturier - 11 Travis Konecny
74 Owen Tippett - 48 Morgan Frost - 89 Cam Atkinson
86 Joel Farabee - 26 Ryan Poehling - 10 Bobby Brink
44 Nic Deslauriers - 21 Scott Laughton - 19 Garnet Hathaway
8 Cam York - 6 Travis Sanheim
24 Nick Seeler - 26 Sean Walker
18 Marc Staal - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
79 Carter Hart
[33 Samuel Ersson]
86 Teuvo Teräväinen - 20 Sebastian Aho - 24 Seth Jarvis
37 Andrei Svechnikov - 82 Jesperi Kotkaniemi - 88 Martin Necas
48 Jordan Martinook - 11 Jordan Staal - 71 Jesper Fast
58 Michael Bunting - 18 Jack Drury - 23 Stefan Noesen
74 Jaccob Slavin - 8 Brent Burns
76 Brady Skjei - 22 Brett Pesce
7 Dmitry Orlov - 5 Jalen Chatfield
32 Antti Raanta
52 Pyotr Kochetkov